Until the seventh month of my pregnancy with my first child, I had been a vegetarian. That means I ate no meat for much of my adult life. It also means that as a thirty-three-year-old woman who hadn’t eaten chicken since she was sixteen, and who had never eaten fish growing up (unless you count frozen fish sticks, and I don’t), I had no clue what to do with either.
While I’m still not keen on preparing birds with bones— I know, I know, if I’m going to eat it I ought to be authentic, but I just can’t go there—I will readily cook the boneless, skinless variety. Over the years I’ve amassed quite a few chicken recipes, but after awhile, one can only eat so much chicken—no matter how it’s prepared.
In an attempt to mix things up a bit, I resolved last year to introduce more fish (sustainable, low mercury varieties) into our weekly meal rotations. The problem is, though, I have even less expertise when it comes to cooking fish than I did when I started eating chicken again. For some reason, fish really intimidates me. It could have something to do with the time my husband and I went to dinner with our friends Guy and Kym to this fancy-pants restaurant in Berkeley,CA. Kym, who is a worldly sort, ordered a fish entree. When her dinner arrived it looked as if it were poised to swim upstream. On the plate was no mere fillet—it was the whole fish, complete with scales and eyes. So, Kym, my well-traveled friend, sent the plate back in horror and ordered something else. The way I see it, if Kym couldn’t handle fish, then I’m really in the deep end. Maybe the key is to not attempt to eat or to cook a fish that’s staring you down.